Oberammergau, the German town nestled in the Bavarian Alps. It’s a stunning place to visit at any time, in fact, you may have seen it for yourself on one of our tours. But as we head towards the latter end of this decade, attention turns to one thing; The Oberammergau Passion Play.
The play will be back in 2020, marking its 42nd anniversary and it’s something that, here at Leger HQ, we’re really looking forward to.
It’s without a doubt one of our most popular additions, even though it only comes along once a decade! And, this year we’ve launched an exciting selection of tours taking you to the Passion Play along with exciting excursions throughout Germany, Italy and Austria. But, if you’re new to the play, or just wanting to learn a little more about it, here’s our beginners guide to the World Famous Oberammergau Passion Play…
What is the Oberammergau Passion Play?
The Oberammergau Passion Play is a religious play of the Christian faith, depicting the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
When did it start?
It came in the middle of the 30 Years’ War – after months of suffering, and death, from the plague, the Oberammergauers swore an oath to God that, on the promise that he would spare them from the spreading plague epidemic, they would perform the “Play of the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ”.
And, it seemed to work. In fact, there were said to be 20 people in 1000 that were dying from the bubonic plague! And, following the oath? There were no more deaths, and all the townspeople suffering, recovered. The villagers believed they had been spared and, sticking to their word, the stage was built for the inaugural show that took place in 1634.
When is it performed?
The play is performed every 10 years, the last one being in 2010 and the next to be in 2020. It runs for five months, from May to October.
In 2010 alone, there were 102 performances that took place!
Who stars in the Passion Play?
The Oberammergau Passion Play is performed solely by the residents of Oberammergau – and that’s written in law!
With so many shows, and such a large cast, it means that over half of the town’s 4000 residents come together to fill roles from actors to singers, instrumentalists and technicians.
But, it’s all worth it, as the play attracts over 500,000 guests who come from all over the world to witness the Passion Play.
How much preparation is involved?
The groundwork for each Passion Play is meticulous. In fact, the preparations for 2020 are already well underway.
The production team was chosen back in 2015, the final schedule released this year and the cast will be announce by the Spring of 2019, just in time for the male members to adhere to the village’s ‘Beard and Hair’ edict that demands that all actors must start growing their hair and beards by Ash Wednesday 2019. No shaving allowed.
What should we expect?
From sombre beginnings, the Oberammergau Passion Play has thrived and since become a Bavarian triumph, enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people. It’s a play that the locals take great pride in, so you can be sure that your experience will be the finest.
From the play itself, delivering powerful performances, inspiring spoken texts and incredible music, there’s a leisurely 3 hour meal break during the play that allows you to enjoy a host of Bavarian treats from bratwurst to steins of beer. Plus, Oberammergau itself offers a stunning back drop to this open air experience, not to be missed.
Take a look at our Oberammergau packages and book today to secure your place on this globally popular experience.